A motion supporting MP Chris Williamson and calling for his suspension to be lifted has been dropped by Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party.
The MP for Derby North was suspended from the party and whip last week after footage emerged of him telling Momentum activists that Labour had been “too apologetic” and “given to much ground” over antisemitism.
Community leaders have long argued for action against Williamson for a pattern of behaviour that included sharing platforms with suspended activists, retweeting accounts with antisemitism and sticking by Pete Willsman after his “Trump fanatics” rant.
Jewish News understands that the general committee of the Labour branch of Hampstead and Kilburn – an area which is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the country – will no longer discuss the controversial politician.
The proposal to discuss a motion defending Willliamson as “valued MP and party me member” and “a consistent and longstanding anti-racist who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism” caused anger within the Jewish community.
The proposal added that: “Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic. Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.
“The Labour Party has put in place procedures and allocated significant resources to deal with allegations of antisemitism that it has received. This branch calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to immediately lift Chris Williamson’s suspension.”
The now scrapped motion comes after Hackney North and Sheffield Hallam Labour passed a motion condemning the suspension. Jennie Formby, Labour’s general secretary, then urged CLPs not to debate motions on individual disciplinary cases.
Jewish News also understands that Hampstead and Kilburn declined to discuss the ongoing antisemitism crisis at its upcoming executive meeting with a view to echoing a tweet from the executive officers of Holborn and St Pancras CLP.
The latter said last weekend: “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and Jewish Labour Movement as antisemitism in the UK continues to rise. Antisemitism has no place in our movement and neither do those who minimise or dismiss the experiences of the Jewish people.”
Responding to the claims, CLP member and JLM vice-chair Mike Katz told Jewish News: “The newly-elected Executive Committee had an opportunity to show some backbone and follow the great example set by their neighbours in Holborn & St Pancras – and they flunked it.
Instead of showing support and leadership on Labour’s antisemitism crisis, they choose to ignore it and instead pursue a motion defending the disgraced Jew-baiter Chris Williamson. They’ve made their priorities clear.
“At JLM’s emergency meeting last week, our members made it clear that solidarity is a two-way street. All CLPs – but especially those with many Jewish members and residents, like H&K – need to make sure they’re a safe space for all Jewish members.”